What Is a Certified Check? | Secure Check Options 101

In this article, we’re answering “What is a certified check?” In short, it is a check that is guaranteed by a financial institution.

This makes a certified check a highly secure and trustworthy financial instrument. However, they do come at a cost, which makes them less commonly used than personal checks.

We take a closer look in the following sections, including a direct comparison with other check options. Plus, we’re answering common questions we receive from our members about these checks below.

This article is part of our free series on sending money, including the ultimate guide to bank checks, which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is a Certified Check?
  2. What’s the Difference Between Certified Checks and Cashier’s Checks?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

What Is a Certified Check?

A certified check is a bank check that has been issued with certified funds as a form of guaranteed payment. This means that the check has a bank guarantee. In other words, unlike other financial instruments, the check has been reviewed and confirmed by the issuing bank prior to being delivered.

As a result of being an official check from the bank with essentially a check certification, a certified check is considered a highly secure payment method. That said, this is just one of the certified check benefits available.

Additionally, thanks to the fact that these checks are approved by the financial institution the process for cashing them at the issuing bank is more streamlined. This is because issuing banks are able to quickly determine certified check validity, compared to checks issued by other financial institutions.

In the following section, we’re going to look at certified check vs. cashier’s check and the main difference between these two financial instruments.

What’s the Difference Between Certified Checks and Cashier’s Checks?

The main difference between certified checks and cashier’s checks is that certified checks are verified by the bank at the time that they are issued by the payer while cashier checks are issued directly by the financial institution to the payee.

With this in mind, cashier’s checks are considered to be more secure than certified checks because they are being drawn against the bank’s own funds instead of the funds of a customer of the bank.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into this topic. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How Do You Get a Certified Check?

To get a certified check you will need to visit a branch of a bank where you hold an account. You can then speak with a teller and request that they provide you with. Importantly, unlike personal checks, you will need to pay an additional fee in order to obtain this cheeck.

When Do You Use a Certified Check?

A certified check is commonly used for medium-sized transactions, such as making a downpayment for a property, making a deposit on a rental property, purchasing a used vehicle, certain business transactions, paying an outstanding debt, legal settlements, and more. In short, they are used anytime a more secure form of payment is required.

Can I Get a Financial Certified Check From Any Bank?

Yes, you can get a certified check from any bank as long as you have an account at the bank. The reason for this is that in order for a bank to issue this type of check, they need to confirm that the balance required to pay the check is in the account and set aside for that purpose.

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